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Between things I should have been doing. (shhhh, don't tell anyone), I ran across two interesting perspectives on trailblazing initiatives in what, for lack of a better term, I'll call "social liberty" - Glenn Greenwald's commentary (though the real meat is in the report due in a couple of weeks) on  Portugal's decriminalisation of drug use, and a BBC report on New Zealand's decriminalisation of prostitution.

To be fair, these are only really related in that they're both "vice crimes" - and also, Canada has a legal regime surrounding prostitution that has never quite made sense to me, in that the business is legal but it's effectively illegal to advertise for it anywhere at all, leading to the hilarious consequence of phone-book pages full of city-licensed "escort services" that make only token efforts to hide what they're actually doing.

But I digress.

I'm not going to make the case the legalisation of either of these is a panacea - especially not legalisation of prostitution, given the thorny personal dignity v. choice issues that can be involved, and of course the obvious feminist critique. But the value of having actual empirical observations of what legalisation does do cannot be exaggerated, and I find it hard to disagree with the claim that a significant number of the problems in these two businesses stem directly from the fact that they are a) illegal, b) still in demand, and c) consequently run by criminals.

Thoughts?

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Comments

( Walk among 3 shadows — Cast a shadow )
skloak
Mar. 18th, 2009 05:14 am (UTC)
I agree with you.

I think. Some of your words are big.
paleshadow
Mar. 18th, 2009 05:27 am (UTC)
You've known me long enough that this really shouldn't be a surprise.
skloak
Mar. 18th, 2009 05:34 am (UTC)
Did you see me say I was surprised?
( Walk among 3 shadows — Cast a shadow )